20 Sept 2015: Good advice from Sandra “6 Magic Phrases You Can Use to Sell More Books”

Although I read a lot of blogs on the topic of writing, publishing and publicity, I don’t share much of what I see there.  I’ll be honest and say that for me, not much of what they blog seems relevant.   Either that or their blog post is really an advertisement for something they’re trying to sell.  Today however, I came across a very interesting post with some good info I wanted to pass along.

The following is from: writerswin.com/six-magic-phrases-you-can-use-to-sell-more-books/

Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz was guest posting on this blog and here’s what she had to say:

While attending uPublishU at Book Expo America as a speaker at the end of May, I sat in on several excellent panel presentations. One that I found particularly helpful shared the results of testing that BookBub has done on the text used to describe books offered for sale in its daily newsletters.

The company did A/B testing of different text elements. A/B testing basically means that they sent newsletters with “copy A” to one part of their list and newsletters with “copy B” to another part of the list, and then compared sales results for each version. Each A/B mailing tested a different variable.

The results are fascinating – and they will help you as you write the text for your Amazon sales page, your website, your book announcement press release, your e-mail announcement, and other promotional materials that will help you sell more books, too!

Here are the lessons from BookBub’s research:

  1. Quote a person, not a publication. When adding a blurb to your description (“A must for your beach read bag!”), quote an author, not a publication. Tests showed that descriptions with an endorsement from an individual sold more books than descriptions with blurbs from the press, such as Publishers Weekly.
  2. Help your target audience see themselves in your description. “If you love thrillers, don’t miss this action-packed read!” sold more books than “An action-packed read!” In other words, tell sweet romance readers, history lovers, etc., that your book is for them. Don’t force them to figure it out for themselves.
  3. For historical fiction, add a time period. Again, you’re helping your target audience by saying, “This is for you.”
  4. Tell people you have good reviews. Citing the number of Goodreads reviews sold more books than not referencing them at all. I have to admit that this trick does work with me. I buy through BookBub regularly and when I see that there were 500 five-star reviews on Amazon, I pay attention.
  5. When you’ve got reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, reference the higher number. In the example presented, the description that referred to more than 1,000 give-star reviews on Goodreads sold more books than the description that referenced more than 150 five-star reviews on Amazon. It’s the number of good reviews then, not the site of the reviews, that matters.
  6. Include awards. If your book won an award, mention it. You’ll sell more books.

Here’s what didn’t matter:

  • Bestseller type (New York Times vs. USA Today, for example)

  • Posing a hook as a question rather than as a statement

  • Mentioning the age of the protagonist

  • Mentioning it’s the author’s debut book

I thought I’d pass this info along since as I’ve mentioned before, I’m always struggling to come up with good book blurbs that reflect the book and will also aid in sales.


Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.

The Purity of Blood

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